Review: Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI EVO

Review: Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI EVO
Review: Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI EVO

Seventh-generation facelift for the perennial hatchback

It’s new, but to the casual observer it doesn’t look that new. That’s because the exterior has had only a mild makeover. Look closely and you’ll see new bumper and light arrangements front and rear, but otherwise it’s remarkably similar to the previous model. Still, since that was hugely popular year after year, why change a winning formula?

The bigger change is behind those front lights, where the long-serving 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine has grown to a 1.5-litre turbo unit. Oddly, the result is a fractionally slower time to 62mph, but there’s little doubt there have been some improvements in the in-gear acceleration times. The result is a car that’s more flexible and in which it’s easier to make those B-road overtakes.

Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI EVO

Price: tbc
Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbo, petrol
Power: 148bhp
Torque: 184lb ft
Gearbox Six-speed manual
Kerb weight: 1294kg
0-62mph: 8.3sec
Top speed: 134mph
Economy: 55.4mpg (combined)
CO2/tax band: 116g/km, 20%

You can dawdle along with 1500rpm on the dial if you wish, and if you keep it over 3000rpm then you have some decent urgency to go with the easy delivery. Revving it up isn’t a hardship as it stays a refined unit under all circumstances.

The six-speed manual gearbox works extremely well with this, with a nicely weighted feel to the shifts and a perfect spread of gears for the power available. You can opt for the seven-speed DSG dual-clutch auto box, although that doesn’t do anything for acceleration or consumption figures.

That’s pretty much as you’d expect, and the handling falls into the same category. It handles well but lacks any great excitement. However, what many people want is decent, comfortable handling with sound body control and a not too firm ride. This the Golf delivers with total dependability.

You can add to this with the optional Driver Profile selector, giving three driving modes from Comfort to Sport. Dynamic Chassis Control, another option, then adds in a variety of damper settings.
There are also quite a few options you can add to the cabin. As ever, it’s a fairly conservative, sombre interior, but it’s well put together and fairly comfy and spacious. It’s not hugely different to its predecessor, so it will be familiar to many buyers.

The Active Info Display is an option that VW is running out across many cars, offering a 12.3-inch display with a high resolution. You get a multi-function steering wheel as part of it, and it replaces the analogue dials. Add to that the Discover Pro top-line infotainment system and you’ve now got an all-singing, all-dancing fancy dashboard that can do just about everything, and has total connectivity, from Android Auto to MirrorLink.

As yet we don’t know final pricing for the new Golf, but there’s not much doubt that some of the options will be fairly expensive. However, the Golf retains all its positive qualities while adding in some interesting and useful new technology. The new 1.5-litre engine is a step forward, welcome in a time when many engines are getting smaller not bigger. Overall, this will prove to a popular and well-made hatchback that feels like it ought to belong in a price class above. So, not much change there then.

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